As we approach the end of April remember the old saying: Playoff spots aren’t won in April, but they can be lost.
The American League is not what it’s been the last couple years. The American League East is paced by the Tampa Bay Rays, who traded away a bunch of good players last year and in the process got more good players back. Those trades are now paying dividends as they lead the New York Yankees by a game-and-a-half.
Speaking of the Yankees, they’re currently decimated by injury and their players keep going down. Giovanny Urshela took a pitch off his hand on Sunday and DJ Lemahieu had to leave Sunday’s game with stiffness in his knee, and he’s currently day-to-day.
Reinforcements are on the way, though. Gary Sanchez has already returned, Miguel Andujar could be back by the weekend and Giancarlo Stanton isn’t far behind. The Yankees have won nine of their last 10 games with essentially a Triple-A roster.
The AL Central is led by none other than the Minnesota Twins, who have been hitting bombs at an insane rate. Who cares if most of their numbers have come from beating up on the hapless Baltimore Orioles?
Rounding out the American League, we head out west where the Seattle Mariners still haven’t stopped hitting home runs even if it means sacrificing pitching, as they are 19th in team ERA, 25th in batting average allowed and dead last in hits allowed. Tied with them atop of the division is the Houston Astros, with the Texas Rangers breathing down both their necks at only two games back.
The American League is cool but have you seen the craziness going on in the National League? The only two teams that have seemingly played themselves out of a playoff spot are the Miami Marlins (because it’s Miami) and the San Francisco Giants. Everyone else is in play for not only the Wild Card but the division as well.
The Mets have managed to play themselves to a minus-20 run differential, but they’re only two games back, and they haven’t pitched all that well given who’s on their pitching staff. Everybody in the East has been .500 or worse in their last 10 games. Whoever gets their pitching right first might be the ones who win the division.
The Cincinnati Reds have a plus-11 run differential. They’re 24th in runs scored, 26th in team OPS and second-to-last in team OBP. That’s a perfect recipe to be dead last in the division with a positive run differential. The Pittsburgh Pirates have quietly lost eight in a row while the Cardinals are trying to run away with the NL Central.
Wrapping it up in the wild, wild West, the Rockies, Padres, Diamondbacks (who are supposed to be rebuilding) and the Los Angeles Cody Bellingers are all separated by five-and-a-half games, and that’s not likely to change the entire season. The team that stops scoring runs first is likely to be the first team to fall out of the race.
It’s only April and it’s already evident that things are going to be wild all season long.